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Listen: Washington Middle School String Quintet on Children's Corner

Members of the Washington Middle School String Quintet. L to R:  Maria Saenz Ramierz, Addie Terwilliger, Finley Chatlain, Bonnie Groenenboom and Jazz Chen.
Eric Wenstrom
Eric Wenstrom
Members of the Washington Middle School String Quintet. L to R: Maria Saenz Ramierz, Addie Terwilliger, Finley Chatlain, Bonnie Groenenboom and Jazz Chen.

The Washington Middle School String Quintet joined us on the Children’s Corner last week for a live in-studio performance. Listen now as they perform holiday classics, works by Bach and Mozart and arrangements of contemporary popular music.

Inspired by their recent visit to The Pea Green Boat and being brought to tears by their performance of “Secrets” by One Republic arranged by their music director, Eric Wenstrom, I invited them back into the MTPR studios and they accepted!

Meet the members of the Washington Middle School String Quintet:

I am Maria Saenz Ramierz  and I'm the group’s bass player. I started playing the bass in fifth grade and have loved it ever since. When the time had come to choose an instrument, I had already had one in mind, the bassoon. Though it was my first option, I wasn't chosen for it, Instead they went for my second option, the bass. At first I thought they were referring to the bass guitar, and I've always wanted to play guitar. My mom did not like the fact that it was too big to carry around, but I liked how it gave the orchestra a  big and deep sound. I have been part of MYO for two years and I think that it is such a fun and memorable experience for every musician. Playing is something really big in my life and I’m very happy that I get to do it with my friends.

I am Addie Terwilliger and I have been playing the cello for 7 years. I started out on the violin when I was very little with my teacher until I was about 6. At that age, my teacher would either pass them in to another teacher if they wanted to continue playing the violin, or switch them to the cello, because she mainly taught the cello. I loved my teacher so much that I didn’t want to leave, so I decided to switch to cello. I ended up falling in love with the beautiful sound. I have been in a group of cellos called Cello Mafi and have enjoyed playing the arrangements that we have played together over the years in that group. I joined Missoula Youth Orchestra last year and this year I have been granted the pleasure of being Principal Cello for the section. I love the cello, playing the cello, and all of the supportive people and friends I have made along the way. Thank you to KUFM for granting us the opportunity to showcase our skills to the community.

I’m Finley Chatlain, and I play viola for the quintet. I began playing the viola in fifth grade, and immediately loved its unique sound and timbre. The way its texture added a rich sound to an orchestra interested me, and I began playing and practicing quite frequently. In seventh grade, I joined the Missoula Youth Orchestra, where I met the other members of our quintet, and where I was invited to join it. Our group’s balance between classical performance and youthful reimagination is something I find profoundly unique, and essential for the progression and preservation of musical history, which is one of the main reasons I enjoy playing with this quintet. Also, it’s just fun to play music.

I am Bonnie Groenenboom and I have been playing violin for eight years. My love of music started when I was five, and since then I have picked up the piano and the bass. I picked these instruments because I think the feel of classical music is intriguing. Because I have been playing for such a long time, I’ve been included in many young musician programs such as Suzuki, GrowMusic, KinHaven, Spring Festival, Fall Festival, MTNA (Music Teachers National Association) and MYO (Missoula Youth Orchestra). I joined MYO in fourth grade and have been concert master since I started middle school. It has been a pleasure to work with KUFM, and I think I speak for the entire quintet when I say that we hope to continue working with them in the future.

Hello, I’m Jazz Chen, the second violin in the quintet. I started playing the violin around 4 years old and it’s become a part of my life ever since. I don’t really remember the true reason I was intrigued by the instrument despite my parents many stories about all the tv shows and music I loved. I assume a part is that I loved music but could never sing. But I do remember that music has always been a great experience for me and I’ve learned a lot from it. From playing the Suzuki songs to playing in the Missoula Youth Orchestra and this quintet, it’s all been full of good memories and learning experiences, that have shaped my life. It’s been really great playing with Bonnie, Finley, Addie, and we thank KUFM for providing an opportunity for us to perform more music.

Eric Wenstrom

Eric Wenstrom, is 6th & 7th grade orchestra teacher at Washington Middle School and Music Director of this quintet. Eric grew up in Oregon and attended the University of Oregon where he earned a degree in Music Education. He began his teaching career in Albany, Oregon where he completed a Master's Degree in Music Education and Conducting. After moving to Idaho to teach in Idaho Falls, he founded the Idaho Falls Youth Symphony and co-founded the Idaho Falls Youth Youth Arts Centre. He entered the PhD. program at the University of Oregon in Music History and Conducting and achieved ABD status. Eric has been an active conductor, performing musician and arranger for the past 30 years and has been very fortunate to work with some amazing talent over the years. As an arranger his works have been performed by major symphonies across the world, including the National Memorial Day Concert broadcast on PBS. Eric’s father grew up in Helena, and in a way teaching at Washington Middle School feels like a coming home.

Sam Manno, that’s me! The host and producer of the Children's Corner.
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